Coronavirus: Calls for lifeguard service to resume after deaths

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The RNLI has been criticized for not having lifeguards on beaches after two people died in separate incidents in Cornwall. A teenage girl trapped beneath a capsized boat and a man pulled from the sea died on Monday.

A councilor has urged lifeguards to “get back to the beaches as quickly as possible” to assist save lives. The RNLI said it had been doing what it could to urge its service up and running amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The deaths came after warnings about dangerous conditions over the legal holiday weekend. The RNLI suspended lifeguard patrols in March and has since announced plans to patrol 70 beaches this summer instead of its usual 240.

The girl who died was with three others who survived after their rigid inflatable boat capsized on the Doom Bar near Padstow, which isn’t a neighborhood that sometimes has lifeguard cover, at about 12:45 BST.

A man was pronounced dead after being pulled from the ocean near Constantine by an off-duty RNLI lifeguard at 12:27.In a separate rescue, a person was pulled from the ocean at Porthtowan by an off-duty RNLI lifeguard and was taken to hospital during a serious condition.

Oliver Huntsman, from Bude Surf Lifesaving Club, said lifeguards were “a front-line service” and involved RNLI management to “pull their socks up”.”Paramedics didn’t stop for eight weeks to work out how they will keep their paramedics safe,” he said.

“[The RNLI] have had eight weeks of beaches being effectively closed to mapped out an idea .”Steve England, from surf magazine Carve, was surfing when he became involved in rescuing his friend at Porthtowan.

“Nobody understands why the RNLI won’t act,” he said.”The ex-lifeguards are here, they daren’t leave the beach, they daren’t stop watching the water.”

Chris Lowry, from Porthtowan Surf Lifesaving Club, was also involved therein rescue and said lifeguards had been able to intervene.He said: “It may be a testament to our lifeguards how keen they’re to urge involved…they can’t just sit idly by.”

Cornwall councilor Pete Mitchell said the authority contributed £1m a year to the RNLI for the lifeguard service.”I can’t really get to grips about why they’re standing off,” he said.

“I think they need really need to check out things very carefully and obtain back to the beaches as quickly as possible.”

The RNLI said it had been “incredibly sorry” to listen to about the incidents over the weekend and its volunteer lifeboat crews had been involved in an increased number of call-outs.

The charity said: “We still do what we will to urge a lifeguard service up and running as soon as possible.

“But it must be safe for our lifeguards and therefore the public when the danger posed by coronavirus remains a really real threat.”

Source: bbc news

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